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" Eskdale's Irton Pike with Ian and Loes "

Date & start time:      23rd January 2022.   12.15 pm start.

Location of Start :     The Bower House, Eskdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 131 003).

Places visited :          Miterdale Forest, Irton Fell, Irton Pike, drive back to the Bower House.

Walk details :              4.6 miles, 1000 ft of ascent, 2 hours 40 mins.

Highest point :           Irton Fell, 1120 ft - 344m above sea level.

Walked with :              Ian (Smith), Loes and my dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Overcast and a lacking the brightness of the sun.


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


Chance to catch up with my fellwalking club friend Ian Smith as he is up in the Lakes at present.

Loes and I head over to Eskdale and meet him on the road beneath Irton Fell.

Another linear walk to save the road walk between start and end and because we had two cars anyway !

I've has some nice mornings recently, with clear skies and red sunrises.

This one was a few days ago . . . today would be overcast but at least it would start frost free.

Early visitors to the garden before we headed out for the drive to the west coast.

One finds food on the lawns and at the foot of the bird table, the other has his meals boxed and ready to go !

Anyone with a "Friends of the Lake District" may benefit from viewing this photo of Mockerkin Tarn, provided they read their magazine !

The tarn is adjacent to the Lamplugh Road on the way out to Egremont and the west coast.

- - - o o o - - -

Left . . .my fellow walkers today, Ian and Loes.

Loes and I met Ian in the car park below Irton Pike,

but we actually started the walk today from the Bower House Inn

We promised to patronise the pub after the walk in exchange

for a parking space, a promise we kept later in the day.

- - - o o o - - -

Setting off from The Bower House, enjoying the view of Muncaster Fell over the wall.

On the other side of the road was the valley of Miterdale.

Scafell at its head was obscured by the low cloud but the craggy outline of Great Bank stood proud above this end of the valley.

A fine old house on the corner of the main road as we turn to walk up Miterdale.

This is St Bega's School in Eskdale Green. 

I walked to Bassenthwaite's St Bega's Church last week, spoke to a guy who went to this St Bega's school for his primary education

and Loes of course comes from St Bees.

Funny how things like this happen . . . from hardly thinking about St Bega at all, to the saintly lady entering conversations three times in a week !

- - - o o o - - -

We walked up the road into Miterdale, passing some nice houses along the way.

The map mentioned an old mill and mill pond amongst the houses at this point of the walk but I didn't notice them.

Soon after we take a left where the bridleway to Nether Wasdale crosses over the river.

Alongside the bridge is the remains of an old sluice gate that would have controlled the water entering the mill pond.

There was no obvious signs of a weir alongside, but it had probably been destroyed and washed away by flood waters over the years.

The track heads off through the Miterdale Forest . . .
. . . some of which is traditional and some commercial.

Great Bank seen closer up now as we cross a forest track.

The old path continues to climb towards Irton Fell and where the forest has been cleared we start to regain the long distant views.

There's also a well placed seat from which to enjoy the view, courtesy of the family of a Mr Neil Cannon.

Higher up the fell side we enter a darker section of woodland . . .
. . . but the ancient track continues on unhindered.

The last section before the summit was cleared several years back so is open to the skies.

The commercial trees have been cut and the ground has also had time to recover from the shock.

Great Bank, Harter Fell (in cloud) and Green Crag are the summits on show.

From the high ground we stop to take in the view.

This is Ravenglass estuary where the Rivers Irt, Mite and Esk all enter the sea together.

Also ahead of us is Irton Pike.

Rather than being a climb to the top that I was expecting, we will be gradually dropping down the ridge to its summit.

Zooming in on the Nuclear Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield.

As time goes on there are gradually less high towers and chimneys, as some of the redundant parts of the plant are dismantled.

It is still a major employer in the area and will be in existence for years as they deal with the treatment of decades of nuclear waste.

Our bridleway continues on towards Nether Wasdale . . .

. . . but we'll leave it here and head west (left) towards Irton Pike.

Below us is Wasdale's Latterbarrow, the slightly forest and bracken covered rocky outcrop below.

I know of two other Latter barrows, one close to Cold fell on the west coast and another over towards Windermere.

We check out the view up Wasdale but can't see the lake from this spot.

What we can see in Buckbarrow, Seatallan with a cloudy top, then Middle fell and Yewbarrow.

We walk down the wide ridge that forms the spine of Irton Fell.

Conditions underfoot were variable, the going soft at times as they say in racing circles.

However sometimes the ground underfoot was really solid, as on this prominent rock topped by Loes, myself and the dogs.

Irton Fell, the slight rise at the end, is getting closer . . . gradually.

The map mentions a cairn circle, but Wainwright in his Outlying Fells Book (page 184/5) mentions

an old mine level and a large pile of stones "that has an air of permanence but not antiquity".

We've passed what could have been a man made excavation and so this must be Wainwright's 'Pile of Stones'.

Anyway, from close to the pile of stones we get a view of Wast Water at last.

Don't follow the track through the gate, look for the old stile . . .
. . . .which took us ever forward on a track through the trees.

Wainwright also is dubious in his book whether the path we've taken would survive the coming of the forestry.

If he were still around . . .I would write and give him the good news.

Ian stands on this remarkably good viewpoint and points out the view.

For your benefit it is repeated here.

Click here or on the photo above for a 360 degree annotated panorama.

Perhaps Ian was pointing out a flight of geese passing above the outline of Yewbarrow.

Below us is Santon Bridge, the famous Inn and the camping site, as well as all the other buildings.

In the field we noticed five strange white circles next to the wildlife ponds.

Could it be a visit from aliens or perhaps just the bases for five Yurts ready for the forthcoming summer holiday trade ?

To the south is Muncaster Fell.          La'al Ratti Railway passes through the threes at the base of the fell.

My eye was also attracted to the large pond in the foreground, one that I hadn't seen before . . . it was Parkgate Tarn, situated within Irton Park.

We also looked down on Ain House in the valley below.

Mr Wainwright in his book was also not terribly complimentary about the (brown) permissive footpath descending the front of Irton Pike.

Consequently Ian suggested we back-track more or less to the 'pile of stones' and descend from the fell by the track through the gate.

On the way back we passed this amazingly bright patch of white lichen . . .
. . . and found a slight shortcut to avoid re-crossing the stile.

That led us easily down to the forest track and the rest was plain sailing . . . I mean walking.

You didn't even have to open the gate if you didn't want to, as there wasn't a fence !

- - - o o o - - -

In the quarry car park under Irton Pike we reached my car and the three of us and the dogs climbed aboard . . . I mean got in !

We drove back to The Bower House where we had left Ian's car at the start of the walk.

They were still serving Sunday lunch, which for us would substitute as an early Sunday tea before we parted company and left for home.

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . minimum road walking and maximum chips !

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Previous walk - 17th January -  St Bega and Bassenthwaite Lake

A previous time up here - 20th July 2007 Miterdale and the Wasdale Screes

Next walk - 27th January - Blake Fell from Felldyke